I am participating in a writing challenge for the month of April. Here is my contribution for the day. Keep in mind- this is a first draft. There will be mistakes and needed tweaking. Feel free to send me your input. Thanks!
“If you ask me, he deserved to die.” Sadie was always saying stuff like that. Whatever thoughts popped into her head, came out through her mouth. They were at the man’s funeral for mercy’s sake. No filter on that girl, but no one could accuse her of disloyalty. She had stuck by Bailey when it seemed that no one else had.
A gentleman in the pew in front of them turned and scowled to show his displeasure at hearing such a statement.
“Well, it’s the truth. Just look at what he did to you.” She was loudly whispering to her friend while staring unflinchingly back at the stranger. Normally, Bailey felt it was her job to try and keep Sadie in check, but she was just too heartbroken at the time to shush her.
Jason Hillis had been Bailey’s first husband. Their marriage had been long over before this day, but it still hurt to know he was forever gone from this world. She leaned over just enough to see the casket at the front of the church, but of its own accord, her gaze shifted to look at the back of the woman with the poufy red hair sitting on the front pew.
Sadie was practically standing now as she lifted herself off of her seat to see who she was looking at. Standing or sitting, the girl was short enough that it didn’t make that much of a difference. “Look at her hair. Doesn’t she know we left the nineteen eighties back in the last century? How could Jason have picked her over you?”
Bailey had been too much of a coward to go to the wake the night before. She had not wanted to face his family—especially his sister, Trinity. She blamed her for the demise of their marriage more than she did the redhead now sitting at the front of the church. Jason’s sister had never liked her. If there had ever been any indication that things would not work out between them before the wedding, Trinity was it.
Besides the sister, everything else had seemed perfect. She had loved Jason. Her family had loved him. Her momma had introduced them, and it had been a whirlwind romance from the start. He had been a widower who had been left with an adorable little boy. After one date that included the three of them, Bailey had been head over heels.
Just three months after they met, the big white wedding with all the trimmings happened. This may have seemed an impossible task but it could be said that marriage was the Foster family’s business. Bailey’s parents owned the Little Bit of Love Wedding Chapel. Daddy officiated and Momma did all the planning. They were famous for their motto, Marriage takes two things: a little bit of love and a whole lot of work.
That may be the ingredients used for a marriage, but it took a good bit more for a wedding. Every wedded desire could be met all at one place in their hometown of Shiloh, South Carolina. In addition to Bailey’s photography business, there was also a florist, a caterer, and a bridal shop owner in the family.
Everything had been picture-perfect for about six months. That is when Jason started making trips to see his sister. These trips always seemed to fall on the weekends when she would have a photo shoot scheduled. She felt abandoned every time he had loaded Tristan’s things up in the car to head off without her. It wasn’t that she had wanted to spend time with his sister, but it had made her feel as if she would always be an outsider, never to be included as part of his family.
The visits became more frequent, until about two weeks before their one-year anniversary when he sat Bailey down and told her that he had fallen in love with someone else. He was headed to his sister’s again and told her not to be there when he got back. She cried and pleaded to no avail. He claimed she was making things worse than they needed to be. Good grief, how much worse could things get?
She moved back in with her parents thinking it was temporary. He would eventually come to his senses. She was served with divorce papers two months later. She had no idea a marriage could be dissolved that fast, but apparently there was nothing to it if you were willing to admit to adultery. Bailey took back her last name, and Jason was married to his sister’s best friend, Olivia, the day after the divorce was final. That had been less than two years past, and now he was gone for good from both of their lives.
The funeral was wrapping up, and the family was being led back up the aisle so they would be in the vestibule to greet everyone else. Bailey wanted to slide down in her pew as if that would hide her from those coming toward her. Instead, she stayed facing forward while looking through the side of her sunglasses at Olivia as she passed. She really did look upset. Maybe he had been able to feel the kind of love for this woman that had been lacking in their marriage. That was both painful and a relief. She stuffed those feelings down into her gut. She could analyze it better once she was alone.
She could not help but turn and look when Trinity came by holding Tristan’s little hand. Boy, had he grown. He was almost four years old now. Did he even know what was going on here? She wondered if he would even know who she was. Jason had insisted that he call her Bailey when they were still together. Considering that he was with Trinity instead of Olivia, it seemed that the child had not been allowed to bond with this step-mother either.
“That’s your problem right there.” Bailey knew what her friend was referring to. Sadie claimed she was a sucker for a man with a baby. She might have a point, but Bailey had no desire to rehash it—especially right then.
Her statement had caught the attention of Jason’s sister. Trinity whipped her head around in their direction. Judging by the instant scowl that formed across her brow, she certainly recognized her ex-sister-in-law. Bailey looked back toward the front and was careful not to make eye contact with anyone else.
They sat in the church until everyone had left the sanctuary. Bailey grabbed Sadie by the elbow and practically dragged her out the door, not stopping until they were halfway across the parking lot headed toward her old Cavalier. When she finally let go, Sadie rubbed her shoulder dramatically.
“There is no need to try and jerk my arm out of socket. It’s not like I had a desire to talk to any of those people. I don’t know why we came to this thing to start with.”
“We came to pay our respects.”
“Jason didn’t deserve our respect. I suppose when David dies, you’ll be paying your respects to that loser too.” Did she really have to bring that mistake up right now?
David was Bailey’s second husband. Well technically, they were never really married. Oh, there had been another big white wedding with all the trimmings, but unbeknown to the bride, this one wasn’t legal.
Her momma had been the one to introduce her to David Comer not long after the divorce. Sadie would point out that this man had three children from a previous marriage. Bailey still wasn’t convinced that was why she had latched on to him. This time was different. David said all the things a woman wanted to hear. He was constantly telling her how much he loved her, how beautiful she was, and how he would never do to her what Jason had done.
This time her family warned her to take it slow. He seemed too good to be true. They said it was a rebound romance. Sadie suggested she stop looking for the right man and just adopt a child instead. The only one who wasn’t upset was Momma. She was a hopeless romantic who wanted to see her daughter happy, and for her that meant marriage.
She had taken it slower this time. They had waited five whole months before tying the knot. She had made David wait for the physical side of marriage and this had sped things up a little. David had wanted her so badly and she wanted him too. Everything was so much hotter and more passionate than they had been before her first marriage. Her relationship with Jason had seemed more practical and look at how that turned out. This had to be a good sign, right?
It had lasted three days. David’s wife had been waiting when they got back from their short honeymoon. His wife. It turned out that they had never gotten a divorce. This time Bailey was the adulteress, and David had chosen his wife over her. She was even more devastated than she had been when Jason had left her. How could he have done this to her knowing what she had already been through?
“Do you know what your problem is?” Bailey did love Sadie, but sometimes she really wanted to smack that girl.
“People who think they know what my problem is?”
Sadie stopped in her tracks on the way to the car, placed her hand on her hip, and peeked at her over the top of her sunglasses. “You are too kindhearted.”
Bailey turned and walked on to the car, seeming to ignore her, but what Sadie had said was actually one of the nicest reasons she had been given—and there had been a bunch of different explanations from her family and friends. She had expected her usual you’re just in it for the kids.
She had heard it all. There was the you’re too easy, the you are not taking enough time to find all of their flaws, she had even gotten you should live with them before you marry so y’all can have time to get to know each other.
The best advice she had received came from Aunt Ginger. She had looked at Bailey in that direct way she had about her, as if she were looking into your very soul, and asked, “Did you pray about it?”
“Yes, Aunt Ginger, you know I did.”
“What I mean is, did you ask for God’s will or your own?”
That one question sent Bailey’s mind reeling. Both times it had been more like This is the man I want to marry, God. Please, please, please, Lord, make this happen. She had never once asked Him if this was the man He wanted for her. If only she could have come to this realization sooner. It might have saved a world of heartache.
Aunt Ginger had gotten her answer by nothing more than the look on Bailey’s face. “Mmm hmm, that’s what I thought.”
Since the phony marriage with David, there had only been a few dates that hadn’t amounted to anything. Bailey didn’t trust herself not to make the same mistake again. It was painfully obvious that she had no business even trying. She made a vow to herself right there in the church parking lot not to even think about a serious relationship again unless she knew for certain it was ordained from above.
If God wanted her to have the husband she so desperately wanted, He would have to practically sit the man down in front of her with the words “Reserved for Bailey” tattooed across his forehead. On second thought, God, you can leave off the tattoo. A handwritten note pinned to his shirt would be cool though.